Pelso Is Like So


Over the last few weeks, I’ve been dipping into Listen to This, a collection of Alex Ross’s essays for The New Yorker—I had read several of them when they first appeared in the magazine, but my memory had faded just enough that they were able to re-surprise me all over again, and too I had just attended a panel discussion with modern classical composer John Luther Adams (about which I’ll write more in a little while) so it was a good time to revisit that chapter… Oh! And one of the essays spurred me to do something about an early music itch I’d been meaning to scratch, so I downloaded a bunch of Hespèrion XXI albums I’d been meaning to check out, starting with Ostinato. I highly recommend them, and I may return to this topic, too, at some point, but that’s not why I’m writing this post.

What spurred this post was another FSG book that arrived recently, a retrospective collection of Nadine Gordimer short stories called Life Times which, as you can see, deploys the same cover design strategy. I checked the dust jackets, and they’re unsurprisingly the work of the same art director, Charlotte Strick, who is also the art editor of The Paris Review. I’ve since learned that the name of the typeface Strick used on these two covers is Pelso, and that it was created seven years ago by Hungarian type designer Gábor Kóthay, who’s also behind one of the most recognized titles of this young century: The Twilight covers make use of his Zephyr typeface.

I haven’t had a chance to start with the Gordimer stories yet, but I will soon—and I can honestly say this is one case where the cover has definitely drawn me in.

29 November 2010 | uncategorized |

Patty Callahan Henry’s Holiday Gift Suggestion

It’s been a few years since the last time we did the holiday gift suggestions, and it’s a Beatrice tradition that I’m happy to revive. Let’s start with Patti Callahan Henry, who has just published a short novel, The Perfect Love Song, totally pegged to the season. It’s about a country music singer who’s in a struggling band—“the opening act before the opening act,” as the narrator puts its, “and sometimes a song before the two opening acts”—who writes that one song that catapults him towards the top… which creates a rift between him and the people who matter most in his life. A rift that needs to be healed by Christmas, naturally. Patti’s holiday gift suggestion is equally thematic…


During the holidays I want to indulge in a little melancholy, a few miracles and something that will make the wings of hope spread inside me. Every Christmas I love to open The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans. This book is a sweet reminder that the holidays aren’t all about parties and material gain, but about opening a heart to the redemptive love we all need.

28 November 2010 | gift ideas |

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